I had the honor of making my sister-in-law's birthday cake this year. I'm good at coming up with ideas for kids cakes - it's pretty simple to take the theme of the birthday and run with an idea. But Batman and trains weren't going to cut it for this party. I had to go grown-up this time - and that meant coming up with an idea for a cake that was pretty and simple, but still fun!
Ask me any day what my favorite cake flavor is and you'll get a loud "CHOCOLATE!" My SIL is not a chocoholic like myself, so I went with a nice strawberry layer cake with strawberry and banana filling. I have to say, it turned out pretty good considering there wasn't a speck of chocolate in it.
I took a white cake mix from the box and replaced the oil recommended with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce and mixed in just over a cup of fresh strawberries that I had pulsed a bit with my hand blender. I baked them in two 9" rounds until they were done (test with a knife or toothpick in center, should come out clean).
While they cooled I got to work on the strawberry and banana filling. I sliced about a cup of fresh strawberries and sliced one whole banana. I added about 1/4 cup of strawberry jelly to the mix and used a fork to mash slightly, just so it would be easier to spread.
Once the cakes cooled, I plated the first round and leveled the top with a serrated knife. Then, I put some white icing into a ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole (about 1/8" long) at the corner. I piped a dam of icing around the top edge of the bottom layer, so that when I added the filling it stayed in the middle. (Don't worry about appearances here, just pipe the dam and you can smooth it out later. Make sure your dam is thick enough to hold the strawberry/banana filling.) I then carefully poured and spread the strawberry/banana filling on top of the bottom layer.
Once that was in, I put the top round on and pressed gently to secure. I frosted the entire cake with a layer of white frosting and then put it in the refrigerator to firm before decorating.
While the cake was in the fridge, I prepared the colors for decorating, using the rest of the white icing and gel food coloring. I made pink, purple and light green and added each color to it's own small ziploc bag, and cut a tiny (smaller than 1/8") hole in the corners.
I piped a picture of balloons on the top and then decorated the sides with alternating dots and lines. I had leftover icing, so I piped a green border around the top and bottom of the cake for a finished look.
I'm not sure the pictures do it justice, but you get the idea. The cake tasted great and the party was a blast!